pro·​cess | \ ˈprä-ˌses How to pronounce process (audio) , ˈprō-, -səs How to pronounce process (audio) \
plural processes\ ˈprä-​ˌse-​səz How to pronounce processes (audio) , ˈprō-​ , -​sə-​ , -​ˌsēz How to pronounce processes (audio) \

Definition of process

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : progress, advance in the process of time
b : something going on : proceeding
2a(1) : a natural phenomenon marked by gradual changes that lead toward a particular result the process of growth
(2) : a continuing natural or biological activity or function such life processes as breathing
b : a series of actions or operations conducing to an end especially : a continuous operation or treatment especially in manufacture
3a : the whole course of proceedings in a legal action
b : the summons, mandate, or writ used by a court to compel the appearance of the defendant in a legal action or compliance with its orders
4 : a prominent or projecting part of an organism or organic structure a bone process a nerve cell process


verb (1)
processed; processing; processes

Definition of process (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to proceed against by law : prosecute
b(1) : to take out a summons against
(2) : to serve a summons on
2a : to subject to a special process or treatment (as in the course of manufacture or film development)
b(1) : to subject to or handle through an established usually routine set of procedures process insurance claims
(2) : to integrate sensory information received so that an action or response is generated the brain processes visual images relayed from the retina
(3) : to subject to examination or analysis computers process data
c : to work (hair) into a conk



Definition of process (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : treated or made by a special process especially when involving synthesis or artificial modification
2 : made by or used in a mechanical or photomechanical duplicating process
3 : of or involving illusory effects usually introduced during processing of the film


verb (2)
pro·​cess | \ prə-ˈses How to pronounce process (audio) \
processed; processing; processes

Definition of process (Entry 4 of 4)

intransitive verb

chiefly British
: to move in a procession

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Synonyms for process

Synonyms: Noun

course, operation, procedure, proceeding

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Examples of process in a Sentence


How does the election process work? Learning a foreign language can be a long process. We're remodeling our house. The whole process is expected to take a few months. Breathing and the circulation of blood are life processes. a bony process on the foot
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

What is the league's role or view on NCAA rules or the process there? Fletcher Page,, "Commissioner Mike Aresco addresses AAC football's future after UConn's exit," 3 Sep. 2019 Because these processes are so similar, birds have long been used to study vocal learning. Cristina Robinson, The Conversation, "Complex birdsongs help biologists piece together the evolution of lifelong learning," 3 Sep. 2019 Komaroff believes that the process also produces large quantities of immune cells called cytokines, which cause fatigue, muscle pain, and even cognitive impairment when released at high levels. Mike Mariani, The New Yorker, "A Town for People with Chronic Fatigue," 3 Sep. 2019 While Burrell's occupancy — rental contract and land contract — should have made this an easy process. Allie Gross, Detroit Free Press, "Lawsuits take aim at Wayne County's controversial Action Before Auction program," 3 Sep. 2019 Ben Magec intends to make the process as slow and as painful as possible. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Stalled in Hawaii, giant telescope faces roadblocks at its backup site in the Canary Islands," 3 Sep. 2019 That’s because the drying process concentrates the sugar contained within the fruit or veg itself, increasing the sugar content overall while diminishing the water and fiber content. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "The Real Health Benefits of Cranberries, According to a Registered Dietitian," 3 Sep. 2019 The consultation process started Tuesday, in reference to the domestic violence helpline 3919, and is to continue until Nov. 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Laure Fourquet,, "As deaths mount, France tries to get serious about domestic violence," 3 Sep. 2019 Fans and dehumidifiers can help speed up the drying process. Dalvin Brown, USA TODAY, "After Hurricane Dorian: Your house has flooded. Here's what you should do next.," 3 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The app also kicked up an unintentional privacy scare with its practice of uploading images to servers to be processed, illustrating a growing sensitivity to how user data is handled. Colum Murphy And Zheping Huang / Bloomberg, Time, "Social Media Users Entranced, Concerned by Chinese Face-Swapping Deepfake App," 4 Sep. 2019 The app also kicked up an unintentional privacy scare with its practice of uploading images to servers to be processed, illustrating a growing sensitivity to how user data are handled. Colum Murphy, Los Angeles Times, "China’s red-hot face-swapping app provokes privacy concern," 2 Sep. 2019 In August 2018, the Officer of the Attorney General wrote an order that narrowed judges’ authority to delay deportation cases in order to wait for an individual’s U visa application to be processed. Gustavo Solis, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Fewer immigrants apply for special visa reserved for crime victims," 1 Sep. 2019 On top of that, Shopify collects fees for helping run each stage of their e-commerce business, from designing an online store and advertising on social-media sites such as Instagram to processing payments and arranging logistics. The Economist, "Shopify and the return of the merchant class," 31 Aug. 2019 His calls, with all their wrinkles, are difficult for a QB to process and an offensive play-caller to anticipate. Andy Benoit,, "Vic Fangio Expected to Elevate Broncos’ D, But Joe Flacco and the Offense Will Struggle," 19 Aug. 2019 Heuristics screen out large amounts of information, thereby limiting how much needs to be processed. Laura Kutsch, Scientific American, "Can We Rely on Our Intuition?," 15 Aug. 2019 Those arrested were taken to a military hangar to be processed for immigration violations. Rogelio V. Solis, Jeff Amy, Anchorage Daily News, "Largest US immigration raids in a decade net 680 arrests," 8 Aug. 2019 Everybody will still go to work Tuesday (except Lourey), child care centers won’t shut down, insurance questions will be fielded, and Medicaid payments will continue to be processed. Dave Orrick, Twin Cities, "3 reasons why the DHS commish matters — and 3 why she/he doesn’t," 15 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The Google Assistant, for example, can already now process multiple requests at once. Edward C. Baig, USA TODAY, "5G to AR: Here are 7 technologies to watch in 2018," 2 Jan. 2018 People process things differently and at different rates. Richard Asa,, "When your ex finds someone new," 31 Aug. 2017 Around 80% of people process language on the left, or the analytical, side of the brain, Dr. Pantelyat says, and everyone processes music on both sides of the brain. Heidi Mitchell, WSJ, "Does Listening to Music Improve Your Focus?," 26 July 2017 Process garlic and shallots until finely chopped, then stir into tomato mixture. Jill Wendholt Silva, kansascity, "Five easy (and, shhh, healthy) recipes for the Fourth," 3 July 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Then, the very next day, as Moyseenko processed his promotion, his wife gave birth to a son, the couple’s second child. Alex Putterman,, "Eventful offseason leaves many UConn coaches adjusting to new roles," 23 Aug. 2019 His winery has been making improvements to use less water, such as increasing the load of grapes processed during harvest. Mai Hoang, The Seattle Times, "Washington’s wine industry adjusts to new wastewater requirements," 11 Aug. 2019 The self-serious novel takes place on the sprawling sea and includes long interludes describing how whalers processed blubber and the anatomy of whale skeletons. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "There Is Going to be a ‘Moby-Dick’ Musical," 9 Aug. 2019 That person is responsible for processing FOIA requests. Detroit Free Press, "How to use the Michigan Freedom of Information Act," 1 Aug. 2019 The agriculture department will spend the next several months writing rules and regulations for the new industry, including requirements for obtaining a growing or processing license. Jackie Borchardt,, "First legal hemp planted in Ohio since World War II," 1 Aug. 2019 Within a week of processing their second round of adoption paperwork in fall 2011, Mariska and Peter brought home their new son Andrew Nicolas. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Everything You Need to Know About Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann's Children," 6 July 2019 On the evening of June 25, 2009, the world was still processing the death of Michael Jackson while the NBA gathered at Madison Square Garden for the league’s annual draft. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "Drafting Stephen Curry," 25 June 2019 Immigration and Customs Enforcement has stepped up worksite enforcement since President Donald Trump took office, conducting a number of large-scale raids at food-processing plants and gardening centers in recent years. Ray Sanchez, CNN, "Indictments of workers mount after the Mississippi immigration raids, but no employers have been charged," 21 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'process.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of process


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1888, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1814, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for process


Middle English proces, from Anglo-French procés, from Latin processus, from procedere

Verb (2)

back-formation from procession entry 1

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Statistics for process

Last Updated

6 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for process

The first known use of process was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for process



English Language Learners Definition of process

: a series of actions that produce something or that lead to a particular result
: a series of changes that happen naturally
medical : something that sticks out of something else


pro·​cess | \ ˈprä-ˌses How to pronounce process (audio) , ˈprō-\

Kids Definition of process

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a series of actions, motions, or operations leading to some result the manufacturing process
2 : a series of changes that occur naturally the growth process


processed; processing

Kids Definition of process (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to change by a special treatment The fruit is picked and processed for shipment.
2 : to take care of according to a routine His job is to process insurance claims.
3 : to take in and organize for use Computers process data.


pro·​cess | \ ˈpräs-ˌes How to pronounce process (audio) , ˈprōs- How to pronounce process (audio) , -əs\

Medical Definition of process

1a : a natural progressively continuing operation or development marked by a series of gradual changes that succeed one another in a relatively fixed way and lead toward a particular result or end the process of growth the process of digestion
b : a natural continuing activity or function such life processes as breathing and the circulation of the blood
2 : a prominent or projecting part of an organism or organic structure a bone process a nerve cell process

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pro·​cess | \ ˈprä-ˌses, ˈprō- How to pronounce process (audio) \

Legal Definition of process

1 : a continuous operation, art, or method especially in manufacture whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process…may obtain a patent thereforU.S. Code
b : a means (as a summons) used to compel a defendant to appear in court broadly : a means by which a court acquires or exercises jurisdiction over a person or property — see also mesne process — compare notice, service

Note: In civil procedure, service of a summons on a defendant is considered constitutionally sufficient process, although usually a copy of the complaint must also be provided according to the local rule of procedure.

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More from Merriam-Webster on process

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with process

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for process

Spanish Central: Translation of process

Nglish: Translation of process for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of process for Arabic Speakers

Comments on process

What made you want to look up process? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make a temporary encampment

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